Friday, September 30, 2005
... or reign in Hell?
So often these days, I read something and just sit back and wonder. At the writer's erudition, assimilation, imagery, precision, quality. Blogging has given me access to a quite surprising array of fine writing. I am humbled. And far too often, very envious. I hate feeling inferior.
And then one comes across blogs that try so hard but ....
Do you feel the same embarrassment? Do you wince as you think, "There but for the grace of God ... "
Do you wonder what you would do if s/he asked your opinion of something s/he'd written?
So which is more difficult?
See, blogs are like a community. All of us have chosen to put a little (or a lot) of ourselves out on the line, we're here by choice, we've given each other the right to pass judgement upon the aspect of ourselves that's put on view.
It's not the same as reading something in a book or magazine, where the writer is paid for bringing words into the world, where we can dismiss the work as tripe and pass on to the next article, essay, review, book, whatever. Because the reader is not so important there, just part of the inchoate, anonymous market that can't talk back. This is the forum. Here, anybody can leave a comment trashing your work. If not on your blog, then on her own.
So here, on this screen, where we hang out our frailties for applause, we come across great writing that reminds us of how far we still have to go.
And we come across losers. Trite, hackneyed, lacking words and rhythm, yet so earnest that we wince in empathy.
So which is more welcome? Or more unpleasant?
Furthermore, there's always something to learn from someone who's superior. (Humility, for starters?) What do you learn from someone whose work you can't respect?